Ad of the week – O2

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

The new ‘be more dog’ ad by VCCP for O2 might mean you don’t have to choose any more – it turns an aloof cat into a tail-chasing, hole-digging, Frisbee-catching mutt.

It’s possibly the best example of change they could’ve used, as what better represents polar opposites than a cat and a dog? Clever CGI and an inspired choice of background music really make this clip shine (or ‘Flash’, as the case may be), giving it plenty of opportunity to go viral. As you’d expect, I also love the writing for this one: I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day that ‘meh’ shows up in a commercial, and here it is!

The ad is encouraging mobile phone users to be more adventurous, promoting several of O2’s new services. There’s a supporting website with some fun interactive features, so that you can tell your friends to be less like Bagpuss and more like Lassie too. As the campaign’s expected to carry on through TV, social media and outdoor, I’m expecting some other takes on the ad to appear soon.

One of the great things about this particular campaign is that, although it’s new and a bit ‘out there’ in concept, it still fits perfectly with O2’s existing branding and tone of voice. It doesn’t represent a significant departure from their current position, and the ‘be more dog’ phrase subtly ties in with their repeated use of the word ‘more’ in other communications. There’s also some significant overlap in sentiment from previous slogan ‘See what you can do’, which was also attempting to inspire customers to break out of their comfort zone.

If you’ve seen a great ad with fabulous copywriting that you’ve just got to share, why not tweet us with the details (@strattoncraig).

  1. Jim O'Connor : 24th July 2013 at 12:35 pm

    It's a clever idea, with a lot of cgi thrown at it.

    It shows how brands with nothing intrinsically unusual to say create a perception of difference by hijacking an attitude or emotion and pretending that it somehow grows out of their DNA. So, Hyundai Live Brilliantly, or BMW Joy, or Robinsons It's good to be a dad. It's better to be a friend. These emotions are bolt-ons.

    As a human (rather than a copywriter) I feel these tactics are deeply dishonest. The desire to embrace life is a personal choice and an endearing character trait. We are being robbed of such feelings by cynical marketers who are appropriating them for commercial gain. We all become emotionally poorer as a result. Discuss…

  2. Kady Potter : 31st July 2013 at 4:26 pm

    That’s an interesting take on it, one I hadn’t considered in depth when I made my post.

    From a copywriting (and marketing) perspective, this type of ad is obviously aimed at drawing that emotional response and an action from the consumer. The purely ‘rational response’ approach doesn’t work for everyone. I don’t think it’s necessarily that these brands have otherwise got nothing worthwhile to say, though. One of the biggest aspects of a brand personality is empathy, because ultimately you’re siding with your audience and aligning your values with them, to get them to engage and remain loyal. Taking a feeling and running with it in a campaign is just an extension and development of that personality – I don’t feel it's a case of brands pretending to be something they’re not.

    The bit I’m not sure about from your comment is that ‘the desire to embrace life is… an endearing character trait’. Every human has emotions, that’s not something that varies from person to person or necessarily endears them to others. That’s why this type of marketing is so effective in the first place, because everyone can identify with ‘happy’, ‘excited’ or ‘contented’. Even if they don’t feel it right now, they understand what it is and how it does feel – and they have the capacity to feel it again. Nobody actively wants to be unhappy with their lot. Being taken to a place where they can be more positive, and maybe even have their mood improved for the day or the rest of the week, is such a strong draw. That’s true of everyone.


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